There are photos to share, but I can't do it on this ASU public computer, so maybe I can share them later.
From Slabs to Fee Nicks and Knacks
I thought I was parked in Slab City for a while. But my new friend, Claire, talked me into hitching out with her at the last minute.
I was just feeling I was getting to know Slab City and meet some really, really interesting folks, so it feels like I left something undone there. I guess that means I'll be back there sometime.
Claire is in her early 20s, pleasant, easy-going, and good-looking, with anarchist ideals, loving to philosophize and sing with the guitar. I had, incidentally, found a book of folk music from around the world lying in the desert near Slab City, so we've been learning songs from it since.
Claire and I got a ride to Brawley with a Slabs resident. That afternoon we tried hitching east on 78 to no avail. So we hit some Brawley dumpsters, harvested feral dates, and went to stay in the abandoned warehouse I'd slept in on my way to Slab City. We played guitar and sang until we couldn't stay awake any longer.
The next day we tried hitching most the day. Only one in thousands picks up hitch-hikers in southern Cali. But Claire and I kept ourselves entertained with singing and philosophising. Finally a young dude named Dan gave us a ride to Holbrook. Dan was from a farming family and was a student at a Christian college in eastern Texas, at home around Holbrook for the holidays. He said he wanted to be a missionary helping prostitutes in developing countries to escape their plight. He let us off at I-8 on a ramp at which nary a car passed.
We decided it was futile hitching there. According to our map, El Centro was 5 miles back, so we walked west again, gorging on the plethora of dates on the way. We learned my map was bogus, and we ended up walking 15 miles to El Centro. We had thought for sure we could be in Phoenix by now, and Claire had classes there to attend, so she called her parents who bought us bus tickets to Phoenix with her Christmas money. Yeah, I decided to accept the ticket, a bit disappointed, but very very very grateful to finally be getting out of southern Cali.
Claire told me I could stay at her house the winter if I wanted, though I'm feeling an urge to finally go back to Moab, despite that it's cold there and warm here. She has 3 other room-mates. I decided to sleep in the garage where pigeons enter and greet me every morning, and where I can practice guitar unabashedly.
My second cousin, Scott, also lives in Phoenix, and I've gotten to see him for the first time in some 25 years! He was a teenager when I last saw him! He calls me Danny and I call him Scotty.
Claire and her roomies are way generous and share everything, but I've been able to also forage tons of food. Oranges grow everywhere, as well as some dates, pecans, and edible acorns that don't need processing. For greens I've been eating lots of mallow, which grows all over the US in urban areas. Of course there's the usual urban foraging in dumpsters, too.
Pondering My Role
I've been pondering my role in community these days. My moneyless comrades, Mark Boyle, in the UK, and Heidemarie Schwermer in Germany are more of community movers than I. Mark's book, The Moneyless Man, is out and so is Heidemarie's movie, Living Without Money. The proceeds from Mark's book are going to buying some land to start a moneyless community, and I think Heidemarie's movie's proceeds are going to charity. They have both already previously started their own projects to motivate community participation in moneyless living (see their links to the right). They inspire me to do similar, but I ask, what? We each have different paths, different functions.
I've sometimes toyed with the idea of helping start a moneyless community, mostly because I want to be able to offer something to the many people with families and kids who ask me what they should do to live moneyless. But, in my path, I feel totally resistant about purchasing any kind of land to start such a thing, even if it means I don't accept any proceeds. A big part of my philosophy is to live in this world as if it is already moneyless community, and actually it really is. It's a matter of bringing to light and cultivating what's already here, at hand: freely giving and freely receiving that is the True Nature of every human already existing, at hand.
Also, I'm realizing my path and my philosophy is Pot Luck. Let me explain.
Pot Lucky Visions
A pot luck is where people bring food already at hand (the luck of the pot) together and share it. According to the original idea, you don't buy anything, you use what is already at hand by "luck." By mystical coincidence* it is related to the Native American potlach, where people regularly brought goods at hand together to give away for the shear pleasure of giving away, to maintain egalitarian community [*It seems the word potluck existed in Europe long before anybody heard of the Native American potlach].
Okay, sometimes I accept something somebody buys me, albeit reluctantly, like the bus ticket. I like it better, it's more magical, when it's something already at hand. "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." For me personally, if it's not at hand, it's not the Kingdom of Heaven, and it's better and more magical and funner to do without it.
Last night I was brainstorming about starting moneyless community using what is at hand, without having to exchange money to start it, or to even pay taxes. "Is this possible?" My doubting Thomas side asks.
Why Buy Farmland?
What if we totally revived the idea of the Victory Garden of the Depression era and took it to new levels?
Is there any way to take land that is already owned, already at hand, and share it? Maybe for you, right now, totally giving up land is too radical. What if simply digging up your wasteful, unsustainable lawn and opening up your yard to community gardening to feed people for free could be your contribution! Maybe if you don't have time or desire to work it you could open it up to people who do.
Why Buy Habitation Land?
Then I thought about churches. This may be the one doorway in the USA to make this vision possible. To my understanding, churches don't pay taxes on property used for religious purposes, not used for profit, and I don't think they have to go through any 501(c)(3) fee hoops that non-profit institutions go through. I once heard of some folks who declared their community house a church and became tax free. I need help with this from you folks out there who know more about this than I.
I'm Calling For Your Help
Churches all over this land own land, already tax free, at hand. What if we called for any of those thousands of churches to consider doing something radical and not just hearing and talking, but acting on the teachings of their own faith, creating a communal space in which nobody owns anything but everyone shares all things in common?
If a church doesn't want to partake in this Pot Luck, what about going into the hi-ways and bi-ways and asking non-religious people to this Supper? What if regular religious or non-religious people who own houses and land hear the call and are inspired enough to give up their ownership to this vision, declaring it a "church?"
Yes, what if we could slide outside the money game without buying anything, without searching for anything, but simply by using what is at hand, Here and Now?
We have all these resources at hand that are locked up, that we are not using for Life. We have dead religion at hand that neither the "religious" or the "non-religious" use in practice. The religious are asleep to it and the non-religious are so repulsed by religious hypocrisy they won't touch it with a 10-foot pole. We have a dead constitution at hand that neither the "patriot" nor the "rebel" use in practice, for the same reason. It could provide this door to make this moneyless vision possible. We have land at hand that is owned and not shared, guarded in fear and dead sterility, covered with useless lawns and structures. We have food at hand, locked up inside supermaket walls and locked inside dumpsters, destined for the landfill, even as millions of people in this world are malnourished or starving. We have neighbors at hand whom we don't even know, because we're too fearful and too busy loving everything and everybody except our neighbor, when loving our neighbor is our only requirement in life. We have everything we need at hand, but we say, "when I have enough money, enough education, enough this or that, then I'm going to do such and such good for the world." Let me let you in on a secret: if you can't do love now, what makes you think you can do love later?
Change yourselves, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:2).